Friday 12 April 2019 1:12 am

Uber files to go public as losses mount

Ride-hailing giant Uber has filed to go public in New York in an initial public offering (IPO) that could be one of the largest technology floats ever, while still losing billions.

The firm reported an adjusted loss before interest and tax of $1.9bn for 2018, and forecast its operating expenses “to increase significantly in the foreseeable future”.

Its operating loss was $3bn while revenue for the year came in at $11.3bn, according to documents filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

“We will not shy away from making short-term financial sacrifices where we see clear long-term benefits,” wrote chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi in a letter that was included in the filing.

Read more: Lyft's brutal debut set to push down Uber IPO price

Uber is expected to fetch up to $10bn (£7.6bn) in the listing, which could reportedly occur in May and value the company at up to $120bn. The firm did not disclose details on the size, date or pricing of the upcoming offering.

Listing under the ticker “Uber”, it has raised nearly $20bn in debt and equity funding to date, making it the most well-capitalised pre-IPO firm ever. Softbank’s Vision Fund was named as its largest shareholder, with a 16.3 per cent stake.

Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick, who was ousted from the firm in 2017 amid controversies over company culture, owns an 8.6 per cent stake as its third biggest shareholder. The holding could be worth around $9bn.

Read more: Lyft shares hit new lows on reports of record Uber float

The tech firm’s float follows that of US rival Lyft, which pocketed $2bn in its Wall Street debut last month. 

"The company’s most immediate problem is that it is losing approximately $700m per quarter, with it difficult to see this changing in the short term," said Quilter Cheviot analyst Ben Barringer. 

"The outlook for growth is weak and the outlook for profits potentially still weaker."

Users covered around 26bn miles using the Uber app last year, with Uber reporting 91m monthly active users across ride-hailing and its food delivery app Uber Eats. This was up 33.8 percent from 2017, but growth slowed from 51 percent a year earlier.